Holocaust Remembrance Day

Why Holocaust Remembrance Day Matters

Holocaust Remembrance Day begins at sundown. It’s a day to remember and reflect upon the fact that 6 million Jews were persecuted, tortured, and killed some 70 years ago.

Most of us will go through our day totally unaware that it is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Most of us won’t notice the footnote on our calendar. Even if we do, most of us won’t take the time to care. Because, if we’re being honest, it doesn’t really affect us, does it? We’re not Jewish. Heck, some of us don’t even have Jewish friends or neighbors. Sure, anti-Semitism is a horrible thing, but it’s something that affects people in Europe or the Middle East. Not here at home. And yes, the Holocaust is just about the worst atrocity ever committed in human history but… it was more than 70 years ago. And there are committees and clubs and museums set up to commemorate these occasions, so let them do the remembering, and let us get on with our lives. “Never forget.” Okay, we won’t, but right now we have laundry to do and TV to watch so… could we please move on?

That’s the attitude of many people on these types of days – these so-called “holidays” or “specialty” days. Even worse, on a day such as this, we don’t get the day off and there are no special sales at the mall and it’s not really an adequate excuse to fire up the grill so… what’s the point in acknowledging it? Plus, it’s not nearly as fun as National Pi Day (which, in all honesty, seems to get more attention on Twitter than this day does) and it’s kind of depressing so… just leave us alone about it.

Well, I would, except… I can’t.

I can’t forget.

I can’t forget the amount of college students in my freshman history course who legitimately didn’t know what the Holocaust was.

I can’t forget the gaggle of athletes at the student union, arguing over who started World War II, finally settling on the idea that it was, in fact, the Jews.

I can’t forget my boss’s comment while haggling on the price of a product that he would have to “Jew him down” – in reference to getting the manufacturer to drop his prices.

I can’t forget the comment from Middle Schoolers about how another teacher had a “Jew Nose”, and the subsequent horror by that same teacher that she might look like a Jew.

And I can’t forget standing in the Hall of Remembrance at The Holocaust Memorial Museum as a teenager, overwhelmed and brought to tears by what 6 million Jews had endured.

I’m appalled even as I type this. I don’t know when or how this type of bigotry became socially acceptable. Most people don’t realize what they’re saying or suggesting. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, some form of anti-Semitism is perfectly and socially acceptable. Why?

We become enraged when black men are targeted by white cops. We’re appalled when a gay couple can’t purchase a cake for their wedding. We’re disgusted when Muslim women are harassed for wearing hijabs in public. But Jews? Instances of anti-Semitism rarely make the news and when they do, it’s widely ignored by the public. Instances of anti-Semitism are simple misunderstandings at best, nuisances on the nightly news at worst. Why is this perception okay?

It’s not, and that’s why this day matters. It’s necessary to reflect upon the attitudes and complacency that allowed the Holocaust to occur in the first place. It’s necessary to remember what happened to those 6 million Jews and to teach our children about what happened, so we can ensure that nothing like this never happens again – in the Jewish community or any other community. Never forget. That’s why this day matters.

“Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children.” — Deuteronomy 4:9

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What Would You Be Left With?

Not long ago, a dear friend posed the following question to me:

What would you have today if you were only left with the things you had given thanks for the day before?

That stopped me dead in my tracks. What would I be left with? Thinking back to the previous day, it dawned on me that I would be left with nothing.

Not my health.

Not my home.

Not my job.

Not my family and friends.

Nothing.

Think about it. What would you be left with? What were thankful for yesterday? Anything? If you’re being honest with yourself, probably nothing, or at the very least, very little.

Maybe it’s the result of living in first world countries. We have more than we could ever need – more than most people even dream of. But we take it for granted because it’s always been there, and we assume, it always will be. So, rather than taking stock of the ridiculous amounts of opportunities, money and luxuries at our fingertips, we’re consumed with what we don’t have and what we still need.

We complain about the traffic. We complain about our jobs. We complain about our leaders. We complain that the baseball game was rained out, that the contractor’s quote for remodeling the rec room was too high, that our service at a restaurant was sub-par, that our kids have too much homework, that our annual trip to Disney World will have to be cancelled because it interferes with the in-laws visiting.

Do we ever stop to think about how ridiculous we sound?

Do we ever stop to think about what we have to be thankful for?

It’s easy to complain. It’s harder to take stock of your life and be grateful.

If you were to make a list of all the things you gave thanks for the day before, my guess is there would be maybe a half dozen items on the list. But if you were to write down everything there is to be thankful for? You’d probably have a list of 50 to 60 items.

Make a list of all you have to be thankful for. And then tell me, based on that list, what would you have today if you were only left with the things you gave thanks for yesterday.

What if We All Just DID Something?

Do you ever get sick of hearing yourself talk?

More specifically, do you ever get sick of hearing yourself talk about things you should do, you need to do, and you want to do… and then never getting around to doing any of those things?

Well, if I had more money…

Once I have a little extra time…

I will as soon as I get this and this and this taken care of…

It’s on my To Do List.

It’s on my Bucket List.

I’ll get around to it…

And then, all of a sudden, you turn around, and you’re 85 years old, and you haven’t done much of anything because life just kept getting in the way.

What would happen if we all just stopped doing that?

The Daydreamer Award

the-daydreamer-award1

Okay, so apparently, I was nominated for another award, which I am thrilled by. Seriously. Plus, I like passing the love onto other bloggers, so let’s do this.

I was nominated by Lisa over at Real Mom of Long Island for the Daydreamer Award which is pretty fantastic because I am nothing if not a pretty decent daydreamer. (And by pretty decent I mean relatively decent… not pretty and decent… although, I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t true… Oh, calm down, peeps. I’m just kidding. I’m not really that full of myself… or AM I? Guess we’ll never know. There goes that whole “decent” idea. Amiright???).

I’m sorry… what were we talking about?

Oh, yessss… Daydreamer Award. Awesome. Fantastic. Incredible. AH-mazing. So, thank you, Lisa. You’re pretty dang AH-mazing yourself.

My challenge was to describe my absolute dream job. (What is meant by “absolute” dream job, by the way? Is it like the best of the best dream jobs? Do people normally have more than one dream job? I always thought a dream job was like… one thing. Maybe people have more than one. What do I know? Apparently, I am a one dream job kind of girl…)

ANYhoodles… Dream job. Yes. (Focus, Annie. Clearly you need to put the coffee mug down, woman.) It would literally be doing some type of charity work – helping, serving, raising awareness and funds for causes I hold near and dear to my heart. Helping people in war-torn, developing countries. Getting food, clean water, medical supplies, building shelters and schools for people that need it the most. Promoting educational causes, working with and inspiring kids, and speaking out against injustices. And then? Writing about it, speaking about it, and getting other people to care about it. Also? Doing a lot of traveling in the process. Honestly, nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than when I’m able to help someone else and bring a smile to their face. That is the most rewarding thing for me. Of course, in order to accomplish any of these things, I would need to be independently wealthy, so I better get cracking on that writing career. *sigh* Always another hoop to jump through, you know?

I propose the same challenge: Describe your dream job.

I am nominating:

Mama’s Musings

Rookie Notes

This is 30?

The Stay At Home Philosopher

Single Family Asylum

If you want to participate, feel free to jump in!

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Complete the challenge they set you.

3. Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to. (The amount of blogs you select is unlimited!)

4. Tell them about it and set them a challenge.

(Please include the rules in your post).

On your marks… Get set…

I’m sorry, what? I got distracted again…

What’s the Plan, Stan? Or are you as woefully unprepared as I am?

Today I subbed in a 5th grade class. Not to be cheeky (OH MY GOODNESS… NEW WORD. I’m totally using that from now on. Seriously, how great is that word?), but they totally loved me. And when I say they “loved” me, I mean they LOOOOOOVED me. As in, “Ms. Evans! Why aren’t you going to be here tomorrow?! Why do we have a different sub tomorrow?! I hate that other sub! If you’re here today, why aren’t you here tomorrow?! UGH!” (Insert all manner of adolescent angst here.) It would actually have earned them points if they hadn’t been such turkeys the rest of the day.

No, to be honest, I had a blast with them. I haven’t been in an upper elementary classroom in nearly a year (all my subbing gigs have been K-3 for some odd reason…), and I honestly wasn’t sure if I would appreciate them as much as I had in the past. Turns out, the older kids are just as hysterical as I remember, and they totally appreciate my dorky sense of humor. Plus, they don’t need help getting their snowpants on. Score!

Aaaaaanyhoodles… (See? I told you Twitter followers I would use it…) this post isn’t actually about my excellent adventures with the 5th graders. While on my lunchbreak (which turned out to be 2 HOURS LONG… do you know how long 2 hours is when you don’t have decent reading material??? ER. MER. GERD.) I was plotting out this month’s schedule, budget and assorted plans. Turns out, I have a lot to do and not much money with which to do it. (Could it be because 3 SUBBING GIGS WERE CANCELLED AT THE LAST MINUTE WITH NO EXPLANATION?! Ugh… you’re killing me, peeps…) This concern made me begin to wonder… and worry… and work myself into a tizzy… over my plans.

Ah… yes. My “plans”. I sat and stared at my planner realizing that I had… none. No plans. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Once June hits, I am screwed over. No money from subbing. Diddly squat from alimony. Savings? Sure. But there’s a reason they’re called “savings”… stay with me, people. And so… as I am wont to do… I went into full-on “freak-out” mode.

What are you going to do? You need to find a summer job. Where are you going to find a summer job? Do you even want a summer job? How old are you!? How many 30 somethings need a summer job? A summer job?! Who would even hire you? They’re going to give you the same, “You’re way over-qualified,” spiel they always give you because they don’t want to pay you more than $8.50 an hour. So, just find a full time teaching job, dill hole! Full-time teaching job? Do you even want a full-time teaching job? Doesn’t that make you a “working stiff”? You HATED being that person! And what about your writing? You know that’s going to go down the tubes once you start working for the man. And where are you going to find this “full time teaching gig”? Where else? The nearest metropolitan area… where jobs are plentiful and everyone is miserable. YAY! You’re right back where you started, dumbass… except minus the ass hat. Does that really matter though, when you need food to eat, a place to live, and cute clothes to purchase? Nah. Not so much! So, what’s the plan? Figure it out… you have 3 months before you are royally screwed over, Annie. Get cracking. Find a job. Be miserable. Buy a dozen cats. Die alone. End scene.

By the time, the kids got back in the classroom, they may have found me like this:

And then I had to get over it and be awesome again for their sakes.

Anyway… my question is this: Does anyone else feel woefully unprepared for the future? Void of any substantial plans? Struggling to figure out whether to “go for it” or just “do what you gotta do”? I feel completely lost and totally panicked because… well…

What’s the plan, Stan?

Gif Source: ryjonka.tumblr.com

Bloggity Peeps, Rejoice!

Why, you ask?

Because yours truly, just finished her taxes.

Remember when I was all like, “I’m going to do my taxes!” and then all ya’lls were like, “Psh. Yeah… OKAY.”

Guess what. They’re DONE.

BOOM.

WHA?

(Here’s where I do a shout out to Turbo Tax because they “Get your billions back, America!” Wait No. No, that’s HR Block. What is Turbo Tax’s motto anyway? “We work hard so you don’t have to”? No, no that’s Scrubbing Bubbles. I have no idea what their motto is… but they should probably get one, huh?)

So, as a reward to myself, and to help pull us out of the funks we are in known as the “Late February Doldrums Because There Is No End In Sight For This Dang Winter” here are some funnies to make you giggle. Or chortle heartily. Whichevs.

Who doesn’t love Key & Peele? Nobody, that’s who.

Over n’ out, peeps.

Gif Source: www.reactiongifs.com

First World Problems Are Reason Enough to Be Grateful

So, from the sounds of it, the entire blogosphere is ready to implode with frustration and depression over this ridiculously long winter.

So. Flippin’. Long.

I, for one, should be used to this level of cold and snow. Winters are always ridiculously long here. It’s only February, which means there’s still a good two months of winter left. All of March and most of April are usually snowy, icy, bitter, and gross. (YAY! I have so much to look forward to! And a good deal of psychoanalyzing to get through to figure out why I still live here, and why I always expect different results. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?)

Anyway, yesterday was particularly brutal. Not just for the cold, but for the level of “Meh” it brought with it. As in, “Meh… I don’t even care anymore.” or “Meh. What does it matter anyway?” or “Meh. You’re a dumbass, and I don’t even have the gumption to point it out to you.” By the end of the day, I was all..

(On a totally unrelated topic, I miss Bill. I think we all miss Bill a little bit…)

ANYWAY, in terms of first-world problems, my day had been pretty crappy.

  • TWO subbing jobs were cancelled yesterday. TWO jobs with my absolute favorite class in the entire world. I haven’t seen those kiddos since November. UGH…
  • It was the 5th day in a row of sub-zero temps and bitter wind-chills, making it a balmy -30° Fahrenheit out there. WHAT THE HELL?! Ain’t nobody got patience for this crap…
  • The wind also brought snow with it, making the snow drifts quite a bit deeper than the day before. Which pretty much means we will have snow until JUNE.
  • My coffee date with my bestie was cancelled… for the 3rd time. She’s stuck in the boonies, unable to bi-pass her driveway because of broken pipes and a great deal of flooding. Or so she says…
  • Doing my own taxes is hard.
  • I burned my coffee.
  • Sir Winston coughed up a hairball the size of Cincinnati… right after eating…

*sigh*

But the more I wallowed in my patheticness (You know what? I officially declare that a word. Deal with it.), the more I realized just how pitiful I was being. I mean… seriously, Annie? You suck. Because this is normal life! Look around you! Look at what you have! Look at how much worse it could be! I mean… for starters…

  • You have use of all your limbs, mental faculties, and senses.
  • You have a warm home and roof over your head.
  • You have food to eat.
  • You have friends and family that care about you.
  • You have a job. (Sort of. If people would just TAKE SOME TIME OFF…)
  • You have running water and electricity and heat. (Not everyone has that…)
  • You aren’t at risk for being maimed or murdered because of your religious or political ideologies.
  • You have money to pay bills and have fun and give back.
  • You have time and money and energy for life’s little luxuries.

WHAT ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT?!

I came across this blog post the other day reminding me that “Not being grateful is not an option.” That pretty much sums it up. In the grand scheme of things, do you know how much we have to be thankful for? Things we take for granted on a daily basis? Things we don’t even realize are a privilege?  We have so much and we’re sitting around wallowing in self-pity. Gross. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by myself.

SO… like it tells us in Proverbs 17:22…

A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Let’s be thankful for what we have. Giving thanks brings joy. Having joy brings life.

What do you have to be thankful for today?

Gif Source: i.imgur.com